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Skiing With Children: Chemmy Alcott's Top Tips

February 20, 2024  · 
Skiing With Children: Chemmy Alcott's Top Tips

Taking your children skiing for the first time can be equal parts exhilarating and nerve-wracking. Introducing your child to the sport you love is a special feeling, but you might find there’s lots to consider when planning a ski trip together with your children. From finding the perfect resort to ensuring they stay warm and safe out on the slopes, planning the perfect winter escape can be daunting.

No matter whether you’re a hobbyist or a pro, there’s plenty to bear in mind when introducing your little ones to the world of winter sports. To help make your children's ski trip as magical as possible, we caught up with EcoSki, their ambassador Chemmy Alcott (former World Cup alpine ski racer), one of our favourite ski chools, New Generation Ski School and of course our own Rupert Longsdon, to bring you our top tips for getting started with young skiers.

Chemmy Alcott's Tips

Get them excited before you go

Their skiing journey can begin well before they step foot on the slopes. Start building their excitement ahead of the trip with a session at an indoor snow dome or a dry slope. It’ll help banish any nerves too, as it’ll give them an idea of what to expect on holiday.

If it’s possible, and if your children are very young, have them walk around the house with their skis on – it’ll get them used to the four edges.

Consider key factors when choosing a location

When deciding on a location for your trip, some important considerations include the travel distance to the resort from the airport, local swimming pool facilities, and ski school facilities. Ski schools can book up quickly, so if you or your child are beginners, make sure this is something you keep in mind when planning your holiday. 

Prevent lost gloves

Kids are forever taking on and off their gloves. Buying mittens with wrist straps will make sure they don’t lose them – which means no cold hands, either!

Pocket space is key

Skiing is tough - and thirsty - work. Make sure you and your children's jackets are big enough for a small water bottle, snacks, and sweets, to help keep their energy up whilst in the mountains. 

Opt for a rental

Children grow quickly, and it's likely you won’t be back in The Alps for at least another few months after your trip. Don’t splash out on ski gear they’ll only wear once; instead, opt for rentals. It’s cost-effective and good for the environment. 

Turn picking their ski kit into an exciting task in and of itself. Get them involved with the decision-making process, and let them decide on the colour, look, and design. 

 

New Generation Ski School

Keep the focus on fun

Snowball fights, building snowmen, and enjoying hot chocolate are just as important as skiing. Skiing is fun, and it's incredible how quickly children learn when they're having a good time in a safe environment. 

Pack a balaclava

Quite possibly the best piece of kid’s ski clothing you can buy. It’s made of a thin, light material and worn under the helmet. It helps to make the helmet more comfortable, as well as keeping the neck, face, and head warm. Plus, it keeps the hair back out of their eyes – fewer tears and untangling knots at bath time!

Bring a toy

Turn skiing into an adventure they can share with a toy by packing a toy in their pocket to bring with them on the journey. 

Be excited!

It might be a little nerve-wracking sending your child to ski school for the first time, but as a parent, it helps to be excited. Your child will mimic your behaviour and start the lesson positively.

 

Rachael Westbrook, EcoSki

Welcome a sense of responsibility

A skiing holiday is a great opportunity for your children to learn more than just how to ski. I like to introduce a sense of independence and responsibility to the trip by talking to my children about how much money they can save up before they go away to treat themselves to a crepe or hot chocolate. 

My children each get to pack a bag themselves with stuff for the journey, from iPads and games to books, as we drive rather than fly. I think it helps them appreciate how far away the mountains are — and a full car is better for the environment.

Rule out travel sickness

The journey up the mountains, whether you’re driving the whole way or if it's just the transfer to the resort from the airport, can lead to travel sickness. I always make sure to take sick tablets for the journey up the mountain, just in case.

Layer up

Take plenty of layers; especially layers that can be taken off if your children get too warm whilst skiing. The biggest must is a neck buff to wear on the chairlift on a windy day. Don’t be tempted to put tights on under socks and baselayers!

If you’re renting equipment, pack a fun helmet cover to go over a rented helmet. This makes it easier to identify your children when out on the slopes, and it adds a fun touch to their ski kit. Picking out a helmet cover can be a great way to get your kids involved in the run-up to the holiday. 

Have an emergency plan

It’s not fun to think about, but it's a vital precaution to take. Make sure to have an emergency plan if you’re skiing together for the day, and ensure that your children are informed and understand the plan. That way, if you ever get split up, they know what they need to do and won’t panic.

 

 

Rupert Longsdon, Oxford Ski

Warm and dry is key

Not only are layers good for holding off that winter chill, but you must ensure that your children’s ski kit is suitably waterproof, particularly if they are prone to slipping in the snow. This is definitely something to bear in mind if you are planning on skiing in the spring, where the snow can be softer and wetter.

Embrace ski school

It can be daunting to send them out to the slopes on their own but have the confidence to place your children in ski school. They’ll receive either excellent one-on-one tuition, or be able to have fun with children their age. If your child is a beginner, enrolling them in some ski school sessions is a terrific idea. 

Always be on time for pickup

If your children are enrolled in skiing lessons, or even if they’re spending some time in a kids’ club, make sure to be prompt when picking them up. Make a plan with them and stick to it, so that they know what to expect and when.

Look for learner areas

When choosing which ski resort to holiday in, look out for which ski areas have dedicated learner areas and snowparks – something to add a little variety to the skiing day. Val d’Isere, for example, has great nursery slopes at the top and bottom of the Solaise ski lift, whilst its snowy play area is a great spot for kids to let off some steam while making the most of the wintery environment.  

Need help planning your upcoming family ski trip? Get in touch today. 

 

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